Martin re­leases il­lus­trated back­story

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - HIL­LEL ITALIE

NEW YORK — George R.R. Martin knows all the signs of Boba Fett Syn­drome.

Named for the mi­nor Star Wars character who fans de­manded to know more about, Boba Fett Syn­drome is most acute for any book or film se­ries that’s be­come a phe­nom­e­non.

For Martin, this has meant not just the usual de­mands for the next A Song of Ice and Fire fan­tasy novel (he’s still work­ing on it), but con­stant let­ters and emails ask­ing for in­for­ma­tion on ev­ery­thing from dragons to Ae- gon Tar­garyen’s war against the Seven King­doms.

Martin’s new book, re­leased this week, is The World of Ice & Fire: The Un­told His­tory of Wes­teros and the Game of Thrones (Ban­tam/Ran­dom House Canada). It’s 300 pages of back­story and orig­i­nal art­work by the some of the world’s top fan­tasy il­lus­tra­tors.

He agreed to the com­pan­ion vol­ume in 2006 and ex­pected it would take just a cou­ple of years. Nat­u­rally, it took longer. He in­tended to write some brief text to ac­com­pany the draw­ings, but ended up set­ting down some 300,000 words, more than enough to make his ed­i­tor’s “head ex­plode.

“It was big­ger than I an­tic­i­pated,” he said re­cently, ac­knowl­edg­ing The World of Ice & Fire might have de­layed still fur­ther the re­lease of the next Ice and Fire novel.

“I start th­ese things that I think won’t take much time and they grow and grow.”

Martin said The World of Ice & Fire of­fers ma­te­rial al­ready in the Ice and Fire se­ries, ma­te­rial he has long worked out in his mind and on pa­per, but never re­leased, and ma­te­rial he in­vented en­tirely for the book, such as the sec­tion ded­i­cated to lands on the other side of the Nar­row Sea. (Fans of Tyrion Lan­nis­ter, be ad­vised: Martin in­cludes lit­tle about the character he’s called his favourite. He’s sav­ing that for fu­ture books).

Time spent work­ing on The World of Ice & Fire also means time spent on pub­lic­ity. On Sun­day, the res­i­dent of Santa Fe, New Mex­ico came to New York and ap­peared be­fore hun­dreds of fans at Man­hat­tan’s 92nd Street Y.

Dressed all in black, he was in­ter­viewed on stage by critic Laura Miller and re­sponded to writ­ten ques­tions from the au­di­ence.

Martin, 66, has com­pleted five of seven planned nov­els: The most re­cent, A Dance With Dragons, came out in 2011, the same year the Emmy-win­ning HBO adap­ta­tion Game of Thrones first aired. A na­tive of Bay­onne, New Jersey, Martin loved comic books as a kid and by high school had won an award for a su­per­hero story. He’s been pub­lish­ing books since the 1970s and be­gan his Ice and Fire se­ries in the 1990s, in­tend­ing to write a tril­ogy.

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